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Great White Egret and Little Egret

Standlake Pit 60, Oxon, UK. 7 January 2017
EOS 7D mk II with EF 500mmf4 II & x1.4TC

This is a Birdguides 'Notable Photo'!

In the winter of 2016/17, two Great White Egrets provided some much needed entertainment at my local site of Standlake Pit 60 - a reserve which is part of the excellent Lower Windrush Valley Project managed by Oxfordshire County Council and features two hides. One of these (Langley Lane Hide) is where I have being spending an increasing amount of time recently. Just occasionally it can produce good photo opportunities...

On the day of this photo, I initially arrived at the North Shore hide, having failed to find some other notable species that had been reported. Here I quickly spotted the Great White Egret down the far north eastern corner, feeding with a Little Egret in the small bay there. Now this wasn't too far from the Langley Lane hide so I quickly made my way there. Arriving at this deserted hide, I settled in to see what the Great White Egret would do - hoping for some shots of it, and its smaller companion together. But most of the time they were almost invisible from the hide, feeding in the corner bay, although from time to time, there would be glimpses of one or other of them. After some time, however, both appeared briefly in the small bay visible from the hide, albeit rather distantly, which is where my new EF 500mmf4 II lens came in handy!

This was the image I was after - both egrets close together and in the same pose.

After this glimpse, both birds rapidly thought better of it, and disappeared from view back into their favourite corner, which is where they stayed for some considerable time. As well as the awful light, another problem today was the mist that kept on rolling in and then dispersing. Just as I was thinking it was time to call it a day, the GW Egret again moved into the small visible bay, which kept me interested for a bit longer. An aggressive Grey Heron then appeared which seemed to intimidate the larger Egret, and remarkably it began to move away from the danger and towards the hide. It rapidly got closer & closer until it more than filled the field of view which resulted in some nice close-ups of this normally very wary species.

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